25 years of celebrating diversity and unity: World of Cultures marks milestone anniversary

Publish Date : 23 Feb 2024
Culturefest Resized
World of Cultures' CultureFest

Auckland Council’s World of Cultures returns for 2024 to showcase the incredible diversity of Tāmaki Makaurau and celebrates the 25th anniversary of CultureFest, a pillar event of World of Cultures.   

Albert-Eden-Puketāpapa Ward Councillor Julie Fairey is proud of what CultureFest has achieved in 25 years.

“Since its beginning, CultureFest has worked to build understanding, appreciation and connection among the diverse communities that make Tāmaki Makaurau such a vibrant place to live.

“Over the past 25 years, CultureFest has become a vital part of our city’s identity, showing our commitment to building a more inclusive Auckland that celebrates our diversity.”

CultureFest originated in the mid-1990s, created by Refugee Services Aotearoa to mark World Refugee Day. The running of the one-day event was taken over by Auckland City Council in 1998, skipping a year in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, making 2024 the 25th anniversary of the council-funded and organised event.

Today, CultureFest is a key event in the World of Cultures line-up, attracting thousands of visitors to Mount Roskill and providing the opportunity to experience more than 70 cultures showcasing their unique identities in one place on one day.

Fellow Albert-Eden-Puketāpapa Ward Councillor Christine Fletcher acknowledges the diverse heritages that World of Cultures represents.

“Over three weeks, World of Cultures unites people from all walks of life by sharing the history, experiences, food and music of a wide range of Aucklanders and the communities that make up Tāmaki Makaurau.

“I invite all to take part in this joyous festival honouring the rich cultural heritage found in Auckland, and celebrating who we are as individuals.”

With over 70 free or low-cost events and activities on offer across Auckland showcasing 81 unique cultures, World of Cultures aims to reflect on what binds us, what makes us different and to take a united stand against racism.

Beginning on Race Relations Day, 21 March, this year attendees can attend a Korean kimchi class, dress up in traditional Thai attire, dive into the world of the Japanese art of bonsai and experience the energy of an African drum (djembe).

Other not-to-be-missed experiences include ‘Celebrating Cultures’ in Howick (23 March) with dance, food, stalls and workshops on offer. Or if you’re in the city centre, find out more about one of the world’s oldest New Year festivals with ‘Nowruz Celebration’ (23 March) marking the Persian New Year celebrated by 300 million people worldwide.

For more family fun, head to FootballFest (13 April) in Mangere East to cheer on teams representing nations from across the globe. Bring whānau and friends to join our Play Festival (6 April) at Tuna Mau / Western Park in Freeman’s Bay, where tamariki can try traditional games from Māori, Pasifika, Asian, African and European culture groups.

For a full list of events and to find which events are taking place near you, go to: worldofcultures.co.nz.

Back to News